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Hasson D. Barnes, LCC Hasson D. Barnes
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Can You Modify An Existing Custody Agreement?


Divorce is a tumultuous time, and the number of decisions you have to make in the midst of the emotional chaos can be overwhelming.  Maybe you just wanted to get out as quickly as possible; maybe you felt intimidated by your spouse and didn’t dare fight for the things you wanted.  But the bottom line is, for whatever reason, you’re just not happy with the custody agreement you ended up with.  Under those circumstances, changing your custody agreement could be a challenge. But if the situation has changed markedly since the original parenting plan was established, you may have a case for making custody changes.

Examples of Change that Justify Custody Modification 

Changing custody is a big deal, and it will be up to you to demonstrate why such a dramatic change in your child’s life is necessary.  It’s more than just a matter of your wanting more time with the kids. You’ll have to demonstrate why spending more time at your place will actually be better for the child than the status quo. That means showing that there have been substantial changes in circumstances since custody was originally decided. While a change can be approved, it won’t happen on a whim.  Major changes must predicate upsetting stability of the child, and could include:

  1. Abuse/Neglect:  If the court determines that the child is unsafe, it will be compelled to intervene. When a parent fails to provide a safe and nurturing environment for the child due to issues such as limited supervision, physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, or nutritional neglect, a custody change may be in order.
  2. Health Changes:  Perhaps the other parent’s health has declined to the point that they are no longer able to care for a child, even part-time.  In some cases a child might suffer serious health issues that require exacting medical accommodations, equipment, or treatments, that cannot be addressed in the other parent’s home.
  3. Age:  In situations where a child is an infant that required regular nursing at the time of the divorce, custody may be modified as they get old enough to be away from the mother for longer periods of time.
  4. Child Preference:  While the child may have been too young to opine on a custody preference at the time the divorce occurred, they’ve grown up a bit since then. A child’s wishes may hold a lot of weight with the court as they get older. 

The Best Interests of the Child 

If the changes you are seeking are in the best interests of the child, you may be able to successfully make the modifications you are seeking.  It will require some paperwork and is more likely to go your way if an experienced custody modification attorney is working on your behalf.

The Advocate You Need 

At The Law Office of Hasson D. Barnes, our experienced Baltimore family attorneys will fight for the best possible outcomes for you.  Schedule a confidential consultation in our office today.

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